Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Comic Cats #23: One Cat

Oh Oda, I'm convinced science took out a restraining order on you long, long ago. It's the only way to explain how in One Piece a ship traveled on a river that runs UP a mountain and how there's an island in the sky that can only be accessed by a tide that supposedly explodes and shoots ships into the air, not to mention the violation of basic science principles by every main (and most minor) characters on that show JUST BY EXISTING. I mean, I have a decent amount of suspension of disbelief- I make comics, for goodness' sake- but really? Really? You hurt me sometimes, Oda... but I always come back for more, because let's face it, One Piece is entertaining and FUN. I will suffer/love all 500+ episodes. Like most anime, this was a manga (comic) first.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Comic Cats #22: Wandering Cat

Wandering Son is one of the most beautiful and subtle manga I've read in a long time. Most of the other manga I've seen has been over-the-top in one way or another- epic battles in shounen, soap-opera story lines in shojo- but Wandering Son takes a deliberately slow, show-don't-tell approach to building up its characters and action. It's realistic; I could see something like this actually happening, unlike just about any other manga I've read. On the business side, it's notable that this manga made it to the States in the format that it did. Fantagraphics doesn't print much/any manga, and Wandering Son came out in the US as a hardcover with some color pages AFTER the second largest manga publisher/distributor in the US Tokyopop all but shut down. Interesting choices, all of them, but I for one am glad that they were made, and hope that they pay off. I'd love to see more manga like this, more selective importation of artistically notable manga marketed towards the alternative comic reader and packaged like an art book.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Comic Cats #21: Axe Cat

Axe Cop is a webcomic written by a 5 year old and drawn by his 30 year old brother. It captures the nonsensical charm (and lack of logic) of a kid's imagination with great art. It's got a playfulness that is easily recognized but nearly impossible to recapture in work done at a later age.

Friday, February 24, 2012

#19 Scooped Princess

 Princess has a rather different reaction to being picked up. Apparently, when that happens, I am a train. I'll walk around with her on my back, and she'll purr the whole time. I think she's got me fairly well trained.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Comic Cats #20: Love and Cats

For this one I tried to mimic the style of the Hernandez Brothers instead of a single character. I found the way they did highlights in some of the characters' hair interesting, so I decided to focus that. It was fun to do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Comic Cats #19: Deadcat

Deadpool is a bit ridiculous by design. I decided to make him a ninja cat because, well, why not. Seems like he'll have a movie in 2014, maybe. Could be funny, could be terrible, could be both, we'll see.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Comic Cats #18: Catly

Owly looks simple on the outside- it's a cute comic series for kids created by Andy Runton that is (mostly) wordless. The more you look at it, however, the more impressive it gets. How DO you express complex ideas without resorting to words? How do you even express a relatively simple idea, like 'would you play baseball with me', without ASKING? If you want to find out, all of the old Free Comic Book Day Owly books are up online for free on Owly's site. Interesting coincidence: Andy Runton draws Owly as other people's characters for fun, which I didn't know until after I drew Owly as a cat.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Comic Cats #17: Lords of Death and Cats

Lords of Death and Life by Jonathon Dalton brings comics back to its roots, in a way. As Scott McCloud points out, if comics are defined as two or more pictures deliberately juxtaposed (most likely to tell a story, but not necessarily), then there are hundreds of examples of comics that date back to ancient times, thousands of years before the IDEA of a comic even existed. Some of the earlier examples include the Codex Zouche-Nuttall, a Mexican codex telling the story of Eight Deer Tiger Claw. Lords of Death and Life is a fascinating read for anyone who has studied how to create comics, as it draws heavily from the visual language of these codices- mimicking style, color, figure posture and other visual cues- while breaking the rules when needed to deliver a thoroughly modern comic. It's a great example of how to take the influence of another style of art and use it to craft a story that is your own while pushing the idea of what comics can be at the same time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

#18 Scooped Pippin

Each of my cats reacts differently to being picked up. Pippin starts purring and looking as sad as he can. Pippin also attempts to burrow to get away, which doesn't work so well. He could probably just jump or wiggle a lot... but maybe that doesn't occur to him.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Comic Cats #16: Hellcat

My cat version of Hellboy doesn't do justice to Mignola's art. Go see for yourself. I've been collecting his Hellboy series in the gorgeous Library editions; it's expensive, but worth it to get to see all of the details in his artwork. I'm generally a bit afraid of using black ink on my line art since it's hard to undo and sometimes hard to make out what's going on, so there's something crazy and inspiring about looking at a perfectly defined, detailed and legible/readable page of art that is at LEAST half shadows, if not far more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Comic Cats #15: Bonecat

The Bone series is the kind of all-ages comic I can get behind- appropriate for kids and engaging for adults. It's a high-stakes story with humor, action, dastardly deeds, and even a little bit of romance. With something for everyone- and made specifically so that persons of age can read read and enjoy it- it's a perfect entry point into comics for anyone who hasn't decided to make the leap into graphic novels yet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Comic Cats #14: Pilgrimcat

It's an interesting coincidence that a story about having to defeat someone's seven evil exes to get to date them fell on Valentine's Day. I was just sort of choosing comics I liked to make cats out of, and this just happened to fall on today; I couldn't have planned it better if I tried. It's exciting whenever a comic book creator gets to quit their day job and just make comic books for a living. Insofar as I can tell, Brian Lee O'Malley got to start living this dream partway through creating his series Scott Pilgrim, and continues to create comic books full-time to this day. I'm excited to see what his next work will be like- it's going to be a stand-alone graphic novel called Seconds, but I don't know anything other than that, mostly because I don't want to spoil it for myself.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Comic Cats #13: Hark! A Cat

Hark! A Vagrant is a webcomic by Kate Beaton about history, literature, and whatever else she wants to throw in there. I saw her book and decided to poke through it, just to see what it was like, and the next thing I knew it was an hour later and I'd read the whole thing without looking up.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Update: Other People's Cat Art

Here's a cat picture by someone other than me! (I can only WISH I drew that cat person.) My friend and art buddy Clemence started a blog of her work. She does mostly illustration and animation, and can work wonders with ink and watercolor. Seems she's branched out into digital media too, with great effect. She's done a couple of GORGEOUS comics, and it's awesome that she's putting her work out where more people can see it without having to travel to France (although, come to think of it, it would be a good excuse to go traveling...) Her work is at

Cara Bean mentioned me in her blog post "Winter Brain"- seems she liked the Bean Cat. Yay! You can also see some doodles from the comic that she's been working on for MeCAF. She's got some great ideas on how to stay on track with a comic deadline- get someone to be your boss and check in on you, and be their boss in return. It's simple, yet brilliant.

Friday, February 10, 2012

#17 Uses for Cats

Cats can be useful in their own ways... you just have to get rather creative and realize that they'll never work exactly like you need them to (or sometimes even VAGUELY like you need them to, depending on the function desired).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Comic Cats #12: Watchcat

Who watches the Watchcat? Probably the other cats, at least until they get bored and go take a nap in the sun somewhere. Watchmen, besides being incredibly important to the history of comic books (it's an excellent example of the darker, grittier graphic novels being put out in the 1980s), was the comic that NO ONE thought they could turn into a movie... until they up and turned it into a movie. Part of the problem in translating the work was Alan Moore's innovation and experimentation with form. Watchmen wasn't JUST a comic. It also contained excerpts from novels written by the characters, a comic book within a comic book to show what adventure stories might be like if you lived in a world that already had superheroes, police reports when one of the characters gets in trouble, magazine articles... it was a fully realized world, and Moore included the clippings to prove it. All of these extras wouldn't translate into any other medium, but the movie did an excellent job of capturing the main story and the world it inhabited nonetheless.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Comic Cats #11: Thorcat

YAY NORSE MYTHOLOGY! The idea of superheroes as godlike certainly reaches its epitome when you start using gods as superheroes. For more on this subject, see Supergods.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Comic Cats #10: Catcat?

How DO you make a cat parody of Catwoman? She's already fairly feline, so there aren't too many other places to add 'cat' into her name. Well, here's my attempt, at least.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Comic Cats #9: Cat Bean

This one's based on the drawings of Cara Bean, whom I met at the Center for Cartoon Studies a while back. We made a pact to both go to the Maine Comics Arts Festival (MECAF) this year and bring our new projects. Since Comikitty is the project I'm hoping to have completed and printed up for the show, I figured it would be appropriate to put her in it. MECAF is Sunday, May 20th from 10 to 5 and admission is $5. Come and make me draw things for you!

Friday, February 3, 2012

#16 Princess' Thoughts

Princess thinks she's royalty. Name aside, we haven't proven this theory, although she's content to act like it until we've got conclusive data either way. (If we do ever have conclusive data negating her royal status, she's prepared to ignore it until it goes away.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Comic Cats #8: Spidercat

So, I suppose Spider-Man has a new movie coming out... didn't we JUST have a trilogy with him in it? I've already heard Peter Parker's story... if there's going to be another Spider-Man movie this soon, I'd want to see one about Miles Morales, the new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man. Marvel's Ultimate Comics series is an alternate universe, which means that although Peter Parker is still alive and well in the 'normal' Marvel universe, Parker kicked the bucket in the Ultimate one. His mantle was taken up by a half-black, half-Hispanic boy named Miles Morales, which is so cool because we're FINALLY getting more diverse major superhero characters so why am I not watching a movie about him RIGHT NOW?

 Edit: February donation picture is up! I went to see Flora in Winter, and turned it into a life-drawing session of flowers. It's nice to see something colorful and alive in the middle of winter, so I decided to share some of my flowers with you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Comic Cats #7: Wondercat

By far my favorite writer of Wonder Woman is Kate Beaton, even though she's never written an official issue of Wonder Woman. It would be a beautiful world if she did. Until then, here's some of what she HAS done. My favorite is the fourth one down; it's so true, and a bit sad when you think about it.